Amidst the war between Russia and Ukraine, a glimmer of potential cooperation emerges as Russia announces its readiness to hand over the bodies of Ukrainian soldiers
Day 647 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Israel-Hamas Conflict Threatens to Overshadow the War
Day 647 of the invasion of Ukraine. Summary of key events in the last 24 hours:
- Zelensky with concerns: The war between Israel and Hamas threatens to overshadow the conflict in Ukraine
- Zelensky: Ukraine has entered a "new phase" of the war with Russia
- Ukraine needs more aid by the end of the month, a White House spokesman said
- Control over a destroyed city in eastern Ukraine is unclear
- Russian President Putin signs new decree to boost troop numbers
Zelensky with concerns: The war between Israel and Hamas threatens to overshadow the conflict in Ukraine
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky has expressed concern that the war between Israel and Hamas threatens to overshadow the conflict in Ukraine as competing political agendas and limited resources put the flow of Western military aid to Kyiv at risk.
In an interview with the Associated Press, he stated that the war with Russia is in a new phase, and that he expects the winter to complicate the fighting.
According to him, changes in the Ukrainian mobilization system for the front are imperative.
"Everyone in Ukraine realizes that changes in this area are imperative. It's not just a matter of numbers, of who can be mobilized. It's a matter of time frame for everyone who is currently in the army, because of demobilization and for those who will join the army. It's also about the conditions," said Zelensky.
Zelensky: Ukraine has entered a "new phase" of the war with Russia
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said the war with Russia is in a new stage, with winter expected to complicate fighting after a summer counteroffensive failed to produce the desired results due to persistent shortages of weapons and ground forces. This was said by the head of state of the country attacked by Russia - a candidate for membership in the European Union - in an interview with "Associated Press", held in Kharkiv on December 1, 2023.
"A new phase of war has come, and that's a fact," Zelensky said in a conversation with James Jordan - director of news for Europe and Africa for "The Associated Press", adding: "Winter is generally a new phase of war."
Asked about the counteroffensive, he said:
"Look, we're not going to back down, I'm satisfied. We're fighting the second (best) army in the world, I'm satisfied," before declaring he couldn't be satisfied because "we're losing people. We didn't get all the weapons we wanted , I can't be pleased, but I also can't complain too much."
Speaking about last summer's counteroffensive, Zelensky noted that the desired results were not achieved: "We wanted faster results. From this point of view, unfortunately, we did not achieve the desired results. And that is a fact."
Zelensky also said he fears the war between Israel and Hamas threatens to overshadow the conflict in Ukraine, as competing political agendas and limited resources put the flow of Western military aid to Kyiv at risk:
"We can already see the consequences of the redirection (attention) of the international community due to the tragedy in the Middle East," he said. "Only the blind do not recognize this," adding: "We must not let people forget about the war here."
Concerns about distractions between events competing for attention are heightened by the hype that inevitably arises in a US election year. The US presidential election will be held on November 5, 2024, but the topic is already leading the political and media agenda.
"Elections are always a shock and that is completely understandable," noted Zelensky. For this reason, although he is ready to participate in new elections, such as would be held in Ukraine next year, if the country was not at war, such a vote is considered "dangerous and pointless" as the war rages around them.
"You see, attention equals help. Lack of attention will mean no help. We are fighting for every bit of attention. Without attention, there can be weakness in the (U.S.) Congress," he stressed the cost of losing focus on what is happening in Ukraine Zelensky.
The results and conclusions of a recent AP poll in the US show that almost half of Americans think too much is being spent on Ukraine. In addition, Republicans increasingly do not support sending more aid, and it is unclear if and when a request from the White House for more aid will be approved by Congress. Asked for a comment, Zelensky replied that "the choice of the Americans is the choice of the Americans". But immediately afterwards, the Ukrainian president said that "by helping Ukraine, the Americans are helping themselves."
"In the case of Ukraine, if resilience fails today due to a lack of aid and lack of weapons and funding, it will mean that Russia will most likely invade NATO countries," he said. "And then American children will fight."
He also outlined some positive takeaways from the past few months.
“Ukraine was able to achieve gradual territorial gains against a better armed and fortified enemy In addition, Moscow's Black Sea Fleet has been reduced in strength after Ukrainian attacks breached air defenses and hit its headquarters in occupied Crimea And the temporary grain corridor created by Kyiv after Russia withdrew from a wartime agreement to ensure safe exports is still operating”. However, Zelensky is not concerned with the past, but is focused on the next stage - increasing the domestic production of weapons, in relation to which he has the provision of favorable loans and licenses for the production of weapons.
"There is not enough power to achieve the desired results faster. But this does not mean that we should give up, that we should surrender. We are confident in our actions. We are fighting for what is ours," Zelensky said.
“This is the way out. Nothing terrifies Russia more than a militarily self-sufficient Ukraine”, said Volodymyr Zelensky - President of Ukraine.
Zelensky is seeking assurances that Ukraine's military machine is working as it should, which is why he recently reshuffled senior government officials, which also ties in with another of his goals - to fight bribery in a post-Soviet institution riddled with corruption, as a prelude to joining the European Union.
He said he needed to know how weapons, supplies, food and even clothing were being delivered to the front - and what was failing to get there, pointing out that while "on the one hand, it's not the president's business, on the other I can trust those who don't just pass on the information to me, but tell it to me personally."
Asked by Jordan how long Zelensky himself could handle being the leader of a country at war, the Ukrainian president said there were no words to describe how difficult the job was, but said he could not imagine leaving the post.
"Honestly you can't do that. It would be very unfair, wrong and definitely demotivating."
Ukraine needs more aid by the end of the month, a White House spokesman said
Congress must act quickly to provide aid to Ukraine before the end of the month, after which it will become extremely difficult to provide Kyiv with the aid it needs, White House spokesman John Kirby said on Friday.
"We need this assistance immediately so that we can provide them with uninterrupted assistance," Kirby said at a media briefing.
Kirby also said the US expects Russia to try to destroy Ukraine's critical energy infrastructure this winter, as it did last year.
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, now deputy chairman of Russia's Security Council, announced on Friday that more than 452,000 people had been recruited into the Russian military under contract from January 1 to December 1, 2023.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he met with his military command on Friday to discuss ways to achieve "concrete results" next year in Ukraine's war against Russia.
European Union leaders may not agree on a proposal to give Ukraine €50 billion in aid until 2027. It will be "very difficult" to reach an agreement at the summit of European Union leaders on December 14-15, a senior block official said on Friday.
Control over a destroyed city in eastern Ukraine is unclear
Control of Marinka, a city in eastern Ukraine almost completely destroyed by more than a year of fighting, remains unclear. According to official reports, Russia has achieved some success in the region, Reuters reported.
By most accounts, Marinka, which is located southwest of the Russian-held regional city of Donetsk, is a ghost town. Against this backdrop, there are daily reports that Ukrainian forces are defending various of its neighborhoods.
Once a city of 10,000, its inhabitants have now left it.
In its evening briefing, the Ukrainian General Staff said Russian forces had succeeded in their attempts to advance on the villages around Marinka, but said nothing about troop movements inside the town.
The Russian Ministry of Defense made no mention of the settlement in its announcements.
The unofficial Russian blogger Rybar commented on a photo circulating on social media showing Russian forces raising the national flag in the southwestern outskirts of the city. Ukrainian forces, he added, continue to control the remaining neighborhoods.
"But if the information about the movement of Russian troops to the south is true, the retreat of the enemy is an issue whose appearance on the agenda is getting closer and closer," said Rybar.
Ukrainian social media accounts also noted a Russian advance, but quoted soldiers as denying Moscow's troops were in control of the entire city.
"The Russians have been taking over Marinka since March 2022," said one post on the DeepState blog. "Marinka has been in ruins for over a year."
Focusing on eastern Ukraine, Russian forces have been attacking the town of Avdiivka, 40 km north of Marinka, since mid-October. Kyiv says its forces control Avdiivka, although not a single building remains.
Ukrainian military spokesman Volodymyr Fityo, speaking on national television, made no mention of Marinka and Avdiivka, but said Russian forces were launching attacks in many parts of the 1,000-kilometer front line.
He said Kyiv forces had repelled attacks near Kupiansk, a northeastern region seized by Russia in its February 2022 invasion but retaken by Ukrainian troops a year ago.
Last year, Kyiv’s army retook large swaths of territory in an offensive in the northeast, but a counteroffensive in the east and south launched this June has achieved only small, incremental successes.
President Volodymyr Zelensky acknowledges that progress is slow, but rejects any notion that the war is heading for a stalemate, Reuters notes.
Russian President Putin signs new decree to boost troop numbers
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed an executive order to increase the number of military personnel in the Russian Armed Forces by nearly 170,000, as reported by Russian news agency TASS.
It reported that as per the new decree signed by Putin, the total number of people serving in the Russian Armed Forces has been set at 2,209,130, including 1,320,000 servicemen.
Under the previous decree, which has been in force since January 1, 2023, this figure was 2,039,758 people, including 1,150,628 servicemen.
According to TASS, the Kremlin posted the document on its website on Friday and it comes into effect on the day of signing.
Earlier last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law on Russia's withdrawal from the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), the Russian News Agency TASS reported.
According to Russian TASS, the treaty was signed on behalf of Russia on September 24, 1996 in New York and ratified by Russia on May 27, 2020.
Kremlin Spokesman said earlier that the withdrawal of ratification of the treaty equalizes the situation in the field of nuclear testing for Moscow and Washington, which never ratified the document.
He also pointed out that the withdrawal of the CTBT ratification does not mean that Russia plans to conduct nuclear tests.
The document was supposed to become the main international legal instrument for stopping any kind of nuclear testing. To date, however, the treaty has not entered into force because it has not been ratified by 8 of the 44 states that have nuclear weapons or the potential to create them, Russian TASS reported.
According to the document published on the official legal portal, the adopted law was designed to restore parity in nuclear arms control commitments. It is specified that the document creates a legal basis for Russia to withdraw its instrument of ratification, but does not imply the country's withdrawal from the CTBT.
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